By Kylie Hester with The Barns of Kanak

So, you’re not using a full wedding planner but want to ensure your day runs smoothly? That’s where a day-of or month-of coordinator comes into play. Coordinators can often be undervalued, and with so many different types, it’s hard to determine the best route to take. Knowing how to hire a great coordinator and the right questions to ask can help you limit hiccups on your big day, leaving you, your family, and your friends to relax and enjoy your wedding!

Day-of Coordinators vs. Month-of Coordinators

Day-of coordinators typically work closely with you during the week of your wedding. At this point, however, you have already compiled all of your timeline, wedding party (names, ceremony procession order, reception entrance order, toast order, etc.), and vendor information (names, contact info, arrival times, etc.). This route is best for the organized, detailed, DIY couple. Your coordinator will take all of your wedding plans and make them come to life. If you have a day-of coordinator, make sure you set aside one or two meetings before the wedding weekend to thoroughly go over every detail. It’s often best to have your day-of coordinator run the rehearsal so he/she can ask any last-minute questions about your vision, too.

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Paige Stevens Photography

Month-of coordinators are more ideal as they invest even more time than a day-of coordinator to ensure that they know your wedding vision like the back of their hand. Because they are heavily involved beginning a month out (or even sooner in some cases), they can also offer more insights than a day-of coordinator can. If this is your first time planning a wedding, there will be things that you forget to think about, no matter how detailed you are. A month-of coordinator can help you fill in those missing pieces, even if you don’t want to hire a full wedding planner. Month-of coordinators rarely have questions for the couple, their friends, or the family on the actual wedding day, because he/she has already worked so closely with the couple and their vendors. This is why you are left to just relax and enjoy every second of your best day ever.

Coordinators Through Your Venue

If your venue includes or offers a coordinator in their package, awesome! Coordinators through a venue come with the knowledge that an outside coordinator may not know. What’s a typical rain plan? What are the venue policies for each vendor? What reception floor plan tends to work well? Where are the backups if something breaks? If you’re also using your venue’s preferred vendors, chances are your venue coordinator also has an existing relationship with them, too. A good vendor team that works well together definitely helps smooth out the flow of the day.

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Hayes & Fisk Photography

Outside Coordinators

Outside coordinators are coordinators you hire through a wedding planning service or company separate from your venue. These coordinators can often be professionals who do full wedding planning but offer month-of or day-of coordinating as well. One big advantage to outside coordinators is that they’ve usually seen a lot of different weddings, which enables them to offer sound and creative advice. If you decide to hire an outside coordinator, make sure that he/she builds a strong relationship with your venue so that there is no overlap in services and they know who will be doing what on the big day. For example, what will be set up by the venue and what will the coordinator need to do? You’ll also want to know who your coordinator’s venue contact will be, just in case venue-related questions arise. Working all of these details out beforehand can make for a less stressful and more enjoyable wedding weekend.

Using a Family Member or Friend

Using a family member or friend as a coordinator is often a move to save money, which everyone can appreciate! If you have an organized friend or family member with impeccable leadership skills, this could be an option for you. You’ll want to check with your venue before making this decision as some venues require a licensed coordinator. If you choose this route and are allowed to use a family member or friend, you have to also understand that coordinating is hard work and requires a lot of energy and focus. Discuss the opportunity with your friend or family member to ensure that he/she is ok with being preoccupied with coordinating responsibilities rather than celebrating your special day as a guest. Coordinating will always be more work than you think because there will be unforeseen tasks that arise over the wedding weekend. It’s the coordinator’s responsibility to notice and address these surprise issues.

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Nicole Adele Photography

Working with a coordinator is surely worth your time and money. Even though so much of their work is behind the scenes, weddings with great ones are often some of the most fun and least stressful. It certainly pays to have a great wedding coordinator!

Kylie graduated from the University of Richmond with degrees in Business Administration and Dance. As a Client Experience Consultant at The Barns of Kanak, a wedding venue 30 miles south of Richmond, one of her favorite responsibilities is month-of coordinating. You can learn more about The Barns of Kanak team at or email